B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe (Black Press files)

Scare tactics aren’t the answer for overdose crisis, B.C.’s chief coroner says

Lisa Lapointe urges caution in response to B.C. funeral chain’s ‘visual’ fentanyl prevention campaign

B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says scare tacticts are not effective when it comes to combating the overdose crisis, following the launch of a “very visual” fentanyl prevention program by a B.C. funeral chain.

On Thursday, Metro-Vancouver-based Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services kicked off the campaign, with owner Tyrel Burton described as using “powerful, perhaps even controversial, visual aids” to talk about the dangers of fentanyl.

In addition to a 45-minute video – which the funeral chain said would include members of the BC Coroners, first responders and parents effected by the crisis, the campaign also includes a poster of grieving family members surrounding a coffin. Underneath the photo, a banner reads: “Will fentanyl be the reason for your next family get-together?”

READ MORE: Funeral chain creates visual campaign to show dangers of fentanyl

READ MORE: Carfentanil detected in 37 deaths between June and September

In a written statement on the B.C. government’s website, Lapointe said that while public education and awareness is important, “the BC Coroners Service does not endorse, and will not be participating in, fear-based initiatives.”

“Evidence suggests that the reasons for drug use are complex and multifaceted, and programs focused on scaring people from using drugs, are not effective in saving lives,” she said.

“Additionally, they tend to increase the stigma surrounding drug use and actually discourage people from seeking help – an obsolete approach that has led to the loss of countless lives.”

Lapointe also urges caution and strategy when awareness campaigns rely on image use, and points to research from several academic studies that suggest mass media campaigns and public service announcements showed no evidence of effectiveness for substance use prevention.

“In the United States, the ‘Just Say No’ and D.A.R.E. campaigns produced poor results,” Lapointe said, and that a 2008 follow-up study on the $1-billion campaign found it had no positive effects on youth and may have prompted some to actually experiment with substance use.

“The experiences and life situations of people who use drugs, as well as the physiological changes they experience, means they might not be ready or able to engage with the overdose prevention strategies suggested in the some of the ads that currently exist,” she said.

“We need to be aware of peoples’ realities and be realistic about what change they are capable of for the stage they are at in their lives. In the long run, compassion and support, including prescribed medical treatment where appropriate, will be much more effective in turning this crisis around than fear and shame.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

Shames Mountain pleads for public to stay away from ski hill following large social gathering

Camera footage shows a parking lot full of people mingling, ignoring social distancing mandate

Fisherman drowns crossing Skeena River

59-year old Prince Rupert victim pronounced dead at Mills Memorial

Coastal GasLink will consult with health authorities before construction recommences

The company continues to perform environmental monitoring, pipe delivery and stockpile

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Frontline workers receiving COVID-19 isolation exemptions prompt concerns

Provincial Health Authority staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel

Most Read